1. Perry, William MA, RN

Article Content

The Internet has brought the spirit of global communication and collaboration to nurses and other healthcare professionals in ways never before thought possible. These resources are offered to expand your opportunities for discussion, reference, education, and research.


I recently came across "172 Interactive Health Tutorials and 32 EduGames" at 2010/05/172-interactive-health-tutorials-and-32.html. A collection of resources from several Web sites, it is an opportunity to view several types of materials in one place. The site was created by Zaid Ali Alsagoff, who authors the ZaidLearn blog and is the eLearning Manager at the International Medical University in Malaysia.


All of the health tutorials listed on the Web site are from Medline Plus ( and produced by They are simply done, the content is reliable, and they are a good way to present information to clients, especially if they have the opportunity to review them on demand.


Of the "EduGame" collection, many are not directly health related and deal with social studies or ecology. There are a couple from the educational games section of the site such as "blood typing" where the player has to determine the correct blood type of 3 accident victims to administer a transfusion. Get the wrong type and you can kill your patient.


There are several food and nutrition games on the list. FatWorld ( is a


[horizontal ellipsis]video game about the politics of nutrition. It explores the relationships between obesity, nutrition, and socioeconomics in the contemporary US. The game's goal is not to tell people what to eat or how to exercise, but to demonstrate the complex, interwoven relationships between nutrition and factors like budgets, the physical world, subsidies, and regulations. Existing approaches to nutrition advocacy fail to communicate the aggregate effect of everyday health practices. It's one thing to explain that daily exercise and nutrition are important, but people, young and old, have a very hard time wrapping their heads around outcomes five, 10, 50 years away.


The game uses cartoon characters and seems like it would be an interesting teaching tool. FatWorld was also listed on the Public Broadcasting Station Web site at


Another food games is "The Incredible Adventures of the Amazing Food Detective" produced by Kaiser Permanente and includes an 8-page teaching guide from Scholastic Magazine. It's aimed at the fourth- to sixthgrade level and is available at


Another game from Kaiser is "Snackdown Smackdown" at According to the ZaidLearn Web site:


In this game, the player takes on the identity of a Kid Wisdom "agent" in a race to save the town from the evil mayor's plans. After gathering healthy snacks for ammo and traversing a treacherous playground, the player must battle three possessed vending machines.


It has a blend of sound, animation, and interactivity that many school-aged kids would find engaging.


Games engage, entertain, and offer challenges and rewards in a way few lectures can match. I wonder what it would take to convert some of my courses into a game that would voluntarily engage students for hours.


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has a site called "Health Games Research" located at It is


a national program that funds research to advance the innovation and effectiveness of digital games and game technologies intended to improve health. It is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Pioneer Portfolio and headquartered at the University of California, Santa Barbara.


There is both an art and a science to designing health games that are appealing, engaging, and impactful [sic]. Health Games Research provides the science.


We work with creative game designers and artists to integrate well-tested principles of learning and health behavior change into games that motivate players to improve their health habits and take better care of their health problems.


The site has a database ( of over 1000 resources distributed between conferences, games, organizations, publications, and resources. There are over 300 games in the database (149 of them free) for individuals of all ages. The topics range from addiction to wheelchairs, and the game creators range from academic institutions to professional game developers. Some of the games are serious, some playful. All are very imaginative and employ a variety of media to engage and stimulate user interest.


Whether you use these gaming resources to teach students, staff, or patients or even just as entertainment (with a little unconscious learning as an added benefit), this resource is definitely worth visiting. I think you be challenged, intrigued, engaged, and even leave the site with a smile on your face.


William Perry, MA, RN